Either the folks at Leica are just plain out of ideas, or they simply enjoy playing jokes on the camera community. Their latest stunt is the $US19,500 Leica M Edition 60. It’s a digital rangefinder with no rear display. Yep, it’s impossible to review your digital images. Why? We’re not sure, but Leica probably has a good many adjectives to throw your way.
The M Edition 60 is based on the M-P Type 250 digital rangefinder. They just removed some of the modern tools we have all become accustomed to like the LCD and array of buttons on the back. It is made of stainless steel and comes bundled with a Summilux 35mm f/1.4 ASPH lens.
Leica loves forcing customers to experience a more simple way of photographing. They did so a couple of years ago with the Leica M Monochrom, which only shot in black and white, and are doing it again with the M Edition 60. We can all appreciate the impulse to harken back to the days when mastering your camera was as elegant as balancing aperture and shutter speed, with the results only coming later, after film has been developed. But to package that nostalgia in a $US20,000 luxury object is a whole other bag of fruit.
For people that really want to experience the old days of photography, there is a much MUCH cheaper way. Get yourself on eBay or Craigslist and pick up an old analogue Canon AE-1 or Nikon F3 for a couple of hundred bucks. You can even get a perfectly wonderful Leica M3 for under $US1000. Pop some film in and have a ball. With the leftover money you saved by not buying an M Edition 60, you can get yourself a car.
The M Edition 60 is a limited release with only 600 being sold around the world. So obviously, it’s not for the masses. But its still indicative of Leica’s strategy of chasing the rich-people market, which is a sad, sad thing.